• Kyodo

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The net balance of external assets held by the Japanese government, companies and individual investors stood at ¥341.56 trillion ($3.11 trillion) at the end of 2018, remaining the world’s largest for the 28th consecutive year, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

The figure, up 3.7 percent from a year earlier and the second-largest amount on record, reflected increased overseas investment by Japanese companies, according to the ministry.

In the reporting year, Germany was second with ¥260.28 trillion, followed by China with ¥236.08 trillion.

Among components, direct investment in the United States stood at a record-high ¥55.63 trillion. Direct investment in China was also the largest on record, at ¥13.66 trillion.

Japan’s overseas assets edged up 0.5 percent, to ¥1,018.38 trillion, rising for the 10th straight year, supported by mergers and acquisitions by Japanese firms and investment by institutional investors in foreign stocks and bonds.

Overseas liabilities fell 1.1 percent to ¥676.48 trillion, down for the first time in nine years, in line with a drop in prices of Japanese stocks held by foreign investors.

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